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The Right Way to Get Your Free Credit Report

February 5th, 2015 5:05 AM by Jackie A. Graves


Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, every American citizen is entitled to a free copy of each available credit report once per year.

The three nationwide consumer credit-reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—are each required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report annually, but only if you request it.

You can order all three at once, or stagger them throughout the year, from one central source: This government-approved website offers free credit reports from the three companies. You can order your report online or by phone or mail.

  • To order by phone, call (877) 322-8228.

  • To order by mail, print this application form and mail it to:

    Annual Credit Report Request Service

    P.O. Box 105281

    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281


    Beware of impostors is the only website you should use to order free credit reports. Don’t consider offers that call for you to order directly from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

    Some websites claim to offer a “free” credit report but then charge a monthly credit-monitoring fee that they hide in the fine print. Just be safe and use

    Information you need to provide

    Whether you order your report online or by phone or mail, you will have to provide the same personal information, including the following:

  • Name

  • Address

  • Social Security number

  • Date of birth

  • Previous addresses, if you have moved within the past two years


    Other conditions for a free credit report

    If you have been denied a loan, credit card, or insurance policy, you are entitled to a free credit report. Likewise, if you are applying for unemployment or receive public assistance, you are entitled to a free credit report.

    How a credit report is used

    Your credit report contains crucial information that reflects your ability to repay loans. Potential lenders will examine your reports before deciding whether you are eligible for a loan.

    Before you apply for a loan for a major purchase, such as a home or a car, check your credit reports to make sure the information they list is accurate and complete. Dispute any errors you find.

    Also, due to the prevalence of identity theft, checking the accuracy of your credit reports is essential. Otherwise, you run the risk of your credit score being unfairly affected.

    Score not included

    Your credit report lists your payment history. It includes all your accounts and balances and reflects whether you have paid them on time. It does not, however, include your credit score, which you can order from You can also use websites such as that offer free credit reports. Some credit cards will also show you your credit score for free with your monthly statements.

    By: Craig Donofrio | Updated from an earlier version by Gilan Gertz

    To view the original article click here

Posted by Jackie A. Graves on February 5th, 2015 5:05 AM


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